Haiku Thoughts


Fourth Week in Advent – December 20-23

Haiku Thoughts

Biblical Text: Psalm 80:1-7

Guidelines for Individual Playdates

Value of This Activity

Strengthens poetic and trans-rational processing of text, world, and self. Helps to reduce over-wording everything! Focuses the mind on details and allows for emotional expression beyond any explanation.

Items Needed

Bible. Paper and Pen.

To Begin . . .

Spend a moment in quiet prayer. If you wish, begin by freewriting for 3-5 minutes. Just let the pen empty out your concerns and thanksgiving for the day. Breathe.

How to Play . . .

Note: You may choose to do one or two verses a day. Or, you may write new haikus on the Psalm text every day. Do what you wish!

  1. Read Psalm 80:1-7 silently or softly. Be still for a few minutes, “brewing” the text in your mind and heart and bodily sensation.
  2. After two or three full minutes, write a haiku-like poem that summarizes the text for you.

    A Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that often juxtaposes two ideas or images. The poem often interrupts itself with what is called a “cutting word” (kireji), which may occur at the end of any line and sometimes closes the poem with a heightening sensibility.

    • In its simplest “American” form the haiku has 17 syllables, in 3 lines, with a pattern of 5-7-5. The lines do not rhyme. The strength of the haiku lies in its imagery, not in its “ideas” or “symbolism.”
    • The classic haiku includes one “season” word–a word that invokes a particular season: examples for winter might be: “ice” – “gray” – “inside” – “shovel”
    • The haiku combines two contrasting/complementary/surprising images or thoughts in very few words. The first part of the haiku (lines 1 or lines 1 and 2) contrasts with the second part of the haiku (lines 2 and 3 or line 3)
    • See below for some examples.
  3. After writing one haiku, write another.
  4. After the second haiku, write a third! Writing three in a row, helps us remain unattached to our creation. We move through the words like gentle water. And yet there is a minnow there!
  5. Some Examples:
    Source: Haiku for People; see also Aha Poetry

Harvest moon:
around the pond I wander
and the night is gone.
(Basho, 1644-1694)

Right at my feet —
and when did you get here,
(Issa, 1762-1826)

A lightning flash:
between the forest trees
I have seen water.
(Masaoka Shiki, 1867-1902)

In Closing . . .

Take a moment to breathe and let the playtime settle around you. Carry your curiosity and insights and questions into the day.

Playdate Reference Material:

Living Beyond the Rational
Poetry As a Mode of Thought

Guidelines for Individual Playdates
Playdates with Scripture Email ARCHIVES

Creative Commons License
Playdates with Scripture by Virginia Wiles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at virginiawiles.com.

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